May 31, 2011 | Atlanta, GA
Fall semester will bring the opening of the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, the promise of a new football season and a new clicker system for faculty and students.
“It was time to make the switch because the vendor of the prior clicker — PRS — discontinued the product,” said Clay Fenlason, director of educational technology. “We also learned that the PRS clicker wouldn’t work with more recent versions of Microsoft Office, so an alternative needed to be found in fairly short order.”
Clickers are devices that allow faculty members to gauge student knowledge and engagement during class. For example, a professor might ask a question, students would respond by pressing a button on their device and the professor could measure response.
At Tech, clickers are used primarily in chemistry, physics, biology, math, computing and management courses, with around 3,000 students using them each semester, Fenlason said.
A faculty-led task force was organized to review four products based on features, support, pricing, technical reliability and T-Square integration. In the end, the unanimous choice was the TurningPoint system.
Benefits of the new system include the following:
- Instructors aren’t limited to using PowerPoint to design clicker polls.
- The device is smaller, simpler, more responsive and less prone to interference than its predecessor.
- Student rosters can be imported from T-Square and grades can be easily uploaded back to T-Square.
- Laptop and mobile devices can be used as virtual clickers.
“A couple of classes are piloting the new clickers this summer to help pave the way and identify last-minute issues,” Fenlason said. “The bookstore should begin to stock the new clickers later this summer, and they should be the sole, supported clicker beginning in the fall.”
Faculty will receive a free instructor kit, which includes a receiver and a clicker, and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) will offer training on the devices for faculty and teaching assistants at the beginning of each semester. Online tutorials are also available here.
The price that students will pay has yet to be determined by Barnes & Noble @ Georgia Tech, which will sell the devices.
Contact Chaohua Ou in CETL at to obtain your system and to learn more about training opportunities.